I haven’t had a Starbucks grande-soy-no-water tazo-chai latte in over a week.

I haven’t had sugar (at least not consciously) in over a week. Except for that teensy amount of ketchup I put in the peanut sauce I made from scratch the other day, which my kids hated. Boooo.

I haven’t eaten much wheat in over a week. Except for those sprouted-grain Ezekiel breads, mmm, with some hummus or Daiya (vegan) cheese on them.

I haven’t really eaten after 8 p.m. Except last Friday night because they had no vegan food at my daughter’s religious schools’ “mandatory” Shabbat dinner. Only half the school showed up, so we are officially suckers. But, it’s OK because the Monkey was thrilled to be there and, quite frankly, the magician was fantastic, and it was interesting to see some faces from, ohhh, 20 years ago! No one ages any more….

I haven’t eaten anything too fatty in over a week.  Except last night, when Josh and I went to Disgraceland for dinner. He had a massive burger that I tried not to make eye contact with, while I ravenously scarfed down my magnificent vegan Caesar salad and vegan nachos (omigosh).

After dinner, we went to the Comedy Bar and laughed for two hours at the hilarious Sklars Brothers show. Here’s a photo of Josh (wearing contact lenses for the first time in 25 years — he thinks he looks bizarre) with Jason Sklar, whom you may recognize from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, CSI and a buch of other stuff — really nice guy….

Jason’s other half, Randy Sklar, got stuck in Minneapolis, so they did their act via skype — hilarious!

It’s been ages since I went to the yoga shala…. I drive by there on my way to work, and I always hope to see someone walk in or out the front door. I miss everyone! But I need my new lifestyle to set in before I set any more goals. And, unfortunately, I seem to need to lose this weight before I feel comfortable doing yoga anywhere but here at home.

It’s been a week since I started practising yoga at home and exercising. I’ve been dancing a lot with the kids to my favourite radio station, working out with a video, walking the dogs, skating with the kids….

Yeah, It’s been a week since something finally snapped. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started feeling really low in energy. All I wanted to eat was crap and sit on my couch. And my clothes just kept getting tighter.

So far, I’ve definitely lost a little weight, and people are telling me I look great all the time. As my naturopath, Tara Campbell (who’s helping me along this journey), said, the changes are coming from the inside — so it’s not new makeup, as people have suspected! I’ve just been drinking a lot of green smoothies and eating whole grains, legumes and veggies — all good stuff. Except for the nachos. But, you know, moderation….

OK! Off to NYC to meet my new nephew! This one-day trip will definitely be a challenge, diet wise. But Josh is now on a diet too, so he’ll help me. Besides, I may treat myself to Starbucks, since I can’t bring my blender with me, and one chai, in a different country, totally does not count.

Check out my Oscar fashions roundup, which is, by the way, the reason this post is a bit suckage (late, late night, FTW!)….


xo Haley-O

I try.

I try to be a good mother.

I try to be a good wife and daughter and friend and relative.

I try to be a good person.

I try to be a good student and employee and coworker.

I try to write well.

I try to entertain and delight.

I try eat well.

I try to practice yoga. Every day.

I try to exercise.

I try to breathe and meditate and be spiritual.

I try to look presentable.

I try to be compassionate.

I try not to eat or wear animal products.

I try to keep a clean house.

I try not to lie, get mad, eat too much sugar, skip meals, spend too much money.

I try to manage anxious thoughts, stave off panic and ride waves of depression without slipping back into the deep.

I try to keep my plants alive and my pets fed.

I try to support and help others.

I try to be green and heal the planet.

I try to keep my family happy and healthy.

I try to set a good example for my kids.

This holiday I stopped trying.

I took a holiday from parenting and everything else at my parents’ cottage. I ate a lot, slept a lot, relaxed, gained weight. I let my kids eat cookies for breakfast, spend the day in their pajamas and watch Star Wars.

We played a lot of Sorry! (the Rascal’s our Sorry! champ!)….

We made a (sorry) snowman….

I slid down a hill on this Spider-man sled over and over again and laughed….

We went snowshoeing….

We danced and did our thing….

And I bought a sparkly pompom hat and scarf, fell in love with Ryan Gosling, baked cookies with the Rascal, read books, coloured and went for fairy walks with the Monkey, played tons of soccer, gazed at the stars, the moon and the nearly-frozen lake….

I’ve quoted this a bunch of times here in this blog and I’ll quote it again. My wonderful former yoga teacher, Monica Voss, said this about an asana (yoga pose) during one of our classes a few years ago: Sometimes we have to collapse the structure so we can gradually rebuild. I’ve never forgotten it.

And I’ve done it again.

I’ve collapsed the structure — The Structure of Trying — in which, like a guinea pig, I try and I try and I try to attain goal after goal and I’m just running and running and time is passing, wheel is spinning, and I’m getting nowhere. And I’m still heavier than I’d like to be, getting heavier. And still anxious. And perpetually tired. Endlessly busy, and buying, and sitting, and doing, and pushing, and giving, and hungry, and full, and struggling.

I’ve collapsed the structure. And I’m very gradually building a new foundation — starting with me.

I’ve found a really gentle guide on holistic nutritionist Meghan Telpner’s website called 21 Days to Health. It’s an ebook that involves making small daily changes to your life, like drinking lemon water in the morning (Day 1), flossing every time you brush (Day 2), going to bed 15 minutes earlier (Day 3), and so on. I do a lot of these things already (like flossing!), but I’ve been feeling such a sense of accomplishment, simply because I’ve managed to drink lemon water every morning for the past 5 days — never mind the fact that I haven’t been inside a Starbucks in five days either!(!!)

That easy, daily sense of accomplishment is golden for someone like me.

At the same time, I’ve been energized enough to make all my own meals, feed my family well, eat greens, take a lunch to work, eat lunch, avoid sugar, drink more water, and stay away from Starbucks!(!!)

And, so, for my yogi readers: I haven’t been to yoga. I’ve gone from my daily, trying Ashtanga practice to effectively ZIP. But I feel good. I’ve been taking my practice into my own hands, laying down the necessary foundation of a good diet (and general self-care), on which to gradually build a proper yoga practice — and everything else. The yoga just wasn’t working: I was gaining weight, not sleeping, feeling anxious. But then again it was working. It’s now forcing me to make space for yoga in my life (as my current yoga teacher might say) by cleaning up my diet (but, as you know, he would definitely not condone not practicing to make the space…!). And cleaning up my diet, for me, has meant limiting strenuous exercise. At least for now. I will be in class tomorrow, though, and probably a few times next week. Eventually, I’ll build my practice up to where it was, but I’ll be stronger and healthier and lean enough to progress in it and, finally, to be assisted in twists without shame, crying (or laughing!). It’s worth a try.

So it seems 2012 is starting quietly, calmly, privately (hence the lack of blog posts…), pensively, lightly, (somewhat) effortlessly, deliciously, healthfully, joyfully.

I brought a delicious casserole I made and an orange to work today….

Happy New Year, Gorgeouses…!


xo Haley-O

Occasionally, I listen to a radio talk show that sometimes makes me hate myself, but that sometimes makes me go hmmm….

Dr. Laura Schlessinger would not like that my kids are in public school. She would not like that my son goes to a (lovely little) morning school while I’m at work. But she’d be somewhat satisfied that I finish work at 2:30pm in time to pick both my kids up from school, and that my husband works from home. She would like that I’m married, but she would not like that I’m on Twitter and Facebook. She would not like that I had a lovely part-time nanny whom I said goodbye to last week while shedding giant crocodile tears.

She would not like that I’m fat.

I listen to Dr. Laura’s show occasionally on my way home from work, bracing myself for points of view that make me shudder, but eagerly anticipating the odd pearl of wisdom. My mom used to listen to the show in the car when I was a kid, so the familiarity of Dr. Laura’s notoriously shrill voice at times renders comfort and reassurance — and at times makes me want to put myself in the corner with a giant dunce cap on my head.

After slapping working mom after divorced mom on the virtual wrist and blaming cheated-on wives for not pleasing their husbands enough in the bedroom, and chastising others for “shacking up” before marriage, she offered one forlorn fat caller some refreshingly eye-opening advice for losing weight.

The woman was calling because her husband was complaining about her weight gain, and she gave a bunch of excuses as to why she couldn’t lose the weight — hormones, no time to exercise, not motivated. Dr. Laura pooh-poohed every one of the excuses, and nearly lost it on the caller when she asked the question I, for one, really wanted an answer to: “But, Dr. Laura, how do I motivate myself to exercise and eat well?”

“MOTIVATION IS BS,” Dr. Laura exclaimed. “Do you think I want to drop and do 20 pushups during the commercial break?” she asked. “Do you think I want to get up in the morning and workout in the gym? No. Nobody does. But it’s the right thing to do, morally, for your health, for your husband. Maybe once you get to the gym, you realize, ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad.’ But it’s much easier to be LAZY.” (I’m not sure if these were her exact words, by the way — except for “motivation is BS.”)

“Motivation is BS.” How true is this, Gorgeouses? I mean, I have all the motivation in the world to lose my excess belly fat — my kids! my husband, myself, yoga, energy, my new Lululemon clothes, him….

And then I see my friends and loved ones who’ve been on the operating table numerous times for near-death heart surgeries diving into chocolate, cookies and other stuff that put them on the operating table in the first place. Motivation is BS.

And in saying “motivation is BS,” Dr. Laura motivated me to stop waiting to get motivated. And then Theresa Albert motivated me, shortly after I listened to Dr. Laura’s show, when I read her great article in The Toronto Star about how our excess of food choices makes us “choose badly,” and then Alice came back from Italy (finally!), and David said after yoga the other day, “No lattes.”

I might be a bit quiet and cranky for the next few days while I attempt to tackle a healing macrobiotics plan. It’s quite a radical shift from what I’ve been eating lately, but if I don’t do something radical, something to “jump start” some weight loss (as Dr. Laura put it before offering the caller a free month of a diet shake program she swears by), it will simply never happen. And though I’ve been averse to macrobiotics lately (only because I’m not the greatest cook…yet), I’ve been mysteriously drawn to it for years — like I am to yoga and other ancient stuff — and I think I have to honour that. As a vegan, there are so many, too many, “diets” to choose from; I’m finally choosing this one as a practice. Done. No more emotion around it, as my friend Ruth has wisely advised me on various subjects. Just do it.

This will definitely be a major challenge as I continue be a darn good, responsible mom (even if I’m not Dr. Laura’s ideal), and work my soon-to-be svelte arse off with our awesome Todaysparent.com team as we prepare for our massive site RELAUNCH later this month (so exciting)! But, apparently, I’ll be thinking more clearly in no time, have that increased energy I’ve been craving, I’ll feel lighter, and I might get some glow in my skin — just in time for the BlissDom Canada conference.

Anyone going to the BlissDom Canada Conference in Toronto, October 13-16?

I’m excited to tell you I’m a Tribe Leader for the “Lifestyle Tribe.” So, if you’re going to the conference, be sure to join my tribe for a roundtable discussion Friday morning on blogging about LIFE. And, like all tribe leaders, I’ll be available if you have any questions, and to “help you make the most of your conference experience”!

By the way, my co-Tribe Leader is the awesome Ali Martell, who sums up Lifestyle writing (and our friendship) perfectly in her most recent post: “We’d love to talk with you about how writing about nothing is truly writing about everything.” Now you have to join us because Ali+Haley=CRAZY FUN, and you’ll want to be a part of that!


xo Haley-O

PS. Lord help me if Dr. Laura’s people find this blog post and she reads it on the air…! It is entirely possible. To make myself a little more likeable, then, I should state for the record here that I also have a dog. She’s a Maltese, and her name’s Betty White.

So, you know I’ve been working hard to de-clutter my mind — through daily meditation and yoga. It’s only been a few days, really, and I’m still a basketcase. I’ll probably always be a basketcase, though. It’s in my nature. And I don’t necessarily want to lose that. But, I wouldn’t mind it if the kindergarten teacher (love her) wouldn’t laugh at me and make that pretend-shake-my-head gesture (huh? hard to explain) when I tell her things like, “What? I didn’t realize there was a PA day tomorrow, WOOPS!” What can I say, I’m a day-by-day kind of girl. I “fly by the seat of my pants,” as Julia Roberts says in Pretty Women (one of my fave lines — that, and “slippy little sucker”). Aside from what’s going on at work (ish), I don’t know what’s going on from one day to the next. I just go with it. And maybe that’s why I have anxiety issues. I need a good daytimer is what I need. A non-leather FILOFAX — are those still around?

Anyway, in the attempt to de-clutter my mind, something very unusual happened. Remember this? My so-called living room?



(It even once looked LIKE THIS.)

WELL, the MESS that was our living room really is impossible to capture with a camera. But, you get the idea. It was COVERED in toys, toys, toys and more toys. Toys on top of toys. It was AAAAARRRGGHH. So, last Thursday, Josh got home from work, and, just like that, we decided to empty out the little breakfast room we’ve been using for NOTHING except feeding MARGE between old unfinished paintings and books I want to sell….


And we filled it with the TOYS, TOYS, and more TOYS — with all of the ARRRRGHH…. Et voilà….


It’s like A ROOM now…! And, check what it looks like from the front door now…. HOUSE LOOKS SO MUCH BIGGER!


HOUSE ECHOES…. And, now…. Look at the empty ADULT(ish) living room!!!!!!!!111oneone


Ahhh! I can breathe again…. And, look at the OTHER side of the living room!!!111oneone



Meanwhile, on the OTHER side of the living room (gasp!), I replaced these terribly horrible large ugly cushions….


…With these lovelies that we’ve had wasting away in our basement this whole time (to think!)….



Don’t get me started on our washroom. We FINALLY put up a MUCH-needed cabinet (thank you, recession-friendly Home Depot), and a mirror. And, OMG, I have so much weight to lose! No, seriously, I haven’t really looked in a mirror in, I guess, since we bought this house 5 years ago! And, OMG. It’s not 10 pounds, it’s TWENTY.

(By the way, I’M A LITTLE DISTRACTED RIGHT NOW because I’m watching The Hills AND The City finales while writing — can you tell? — and everyone is just so dang GORJJJJ.)

So, that’s that. We redecorated our house. I feel like a NEW WOMAN. I can breathe. I can make ECHOES in my living room….


OH, and have you heard? I’m up for two Canadian blog awards: Family and Humour (possibly Personal, too, but that category’s not up yet). If you love me, or even just like me, you can vote for me here. A thousand thank yous! Ohmmmm….


xo Haley-O

T’WAS A TIME OF CHANGE. Last week, I wrote a little email…. I needed some help. I’ve been pretty mum about this, but, if you were to seriously stalk my tweets, you’d probably see that I’ve been having some anxiety lately. A lot of anxiety lately. Not “OMG OMG OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIEEEEE!” kind of anxiety, but a very physical kind characterized by heart palpitations and obsessive thinking. It’s been rough. And, of course, I blame THE CHAI, which, no, I haven’t been able to quit.

Until last week, that is. THE TIME OF CHANGE…, when I wrote a little email to Caroline Dupont.


Caroline always comes to my rescue. She’s a total EARTH ANGEL, the best healer I know, and rife with sage, practical advice — in person, as well as in her book Enlightened Eating (my eating bible), her meditation cds, and new DVD (which I JUST ordered and am so psyched about).

I wrote a very “determined” (as she put it) email, asking for a complete “regimen.” I wanted breakfast, lunch and dinner DICTATED to me, as well as when to exercise, do yoga, sleep and meditate. I was hoping that this regimen would help me replace old habits with new ones — the right ones.

Caroline didn’t want to give me a strict regimen, though, because she didn’t think it would work for me in the long run. She wanted me simply to start with a few changes. The main one being…

MY MORNING SMOOTHIE (click the link for the recipe).

I’m supposed to drink that thing every day, come hell or high water.

I’m also supposed to walk for 30 minutes 4 days a week, and practice 30 minutes of yoga the remaining three days a week.

I’m supposed to meditate daily. (And, omg, this has been surprisingly SO enlightening and healing. More on this later in the week.)

I’m supposed to go to bed between 9:30 and 10:30 every evening….COOOUUUUUGH!

So, I’ve been drinking my smoothie every morning. NO CHAI (bingo!). And I’ve been walking and meditating and practicing yoga. The only problem with the yoga is that a certain someone gets a little, ermm, creepy while I’m practicing (with my camera in hand, apparently)….





…He’s horribly sneaky and distracting while I’m practicing. But, I INTEGRATE it.

The other changes that I’ve — WE’VE (Josh and I) — made this weekend are MIRACULOUS and will have to wait ’til the next post to be revealed because, without any chai in my system, I’m a total zombie. ZOMBIE. And I can’t write anymore because it’s 9:15 — almost “bedtime” (heh, I wish).

On top of all the above advice (and so much more that I have yet to implement and share), Caroline gave me this gem of guidance that I know she’ll love for me to share:

Your principle spiritual practice right now is your kids. Soon enough they’ll be in school and you’ll have more time for uninterrupted yoga and meditation. Create activities with them…. When you take them to the park remind yourself to breathe and be…. To everything, there is a season.

I’ve really taken that advice to heart and have been LOVING the relief and peace of mind I get from getting down on the floor and really PAINTING and DRAWING again, with my children — ESPECIALLY when I’m not feeling “well”….



…one of my new favourite things…!

Many, MANY, thanks to Caroline Dupont.


xo Haley-O

This week has been nonstop for me. In the middle of figuring out the whole H1N1 vaccine situation (my pediatrician is now recommending the vaccine, FYI), a very cold pumpkin-patch field trip, homework (homework?!), surprise sales, a newly stubborn little rascal, birthday party FAILS, and I COULD GO ON, I’m doing a cleanse from the book Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, written by my witty twitter friend Quintessence C. Challis. I’ll be sharing recipes at The Kitch when I get a chance. The cleanse itself is not that intense at all, so DON’T WORRY. So far my favourite part is waking up with a tall glass of water with freshly-squeezed lemon. VERY refreshing. BETTER than a chai latte. More on that later. At the moment, I’m too preoccupied with ALL OF THE ABOVE to write, really.

That said, I have something very exciting to share with you. Rascal has A NEW COAT.

In case you didn’t know, he was wearing THIS COATASTROPHE that Josh proudly brought home from Winners last month….


Here it is to the front with better lighting (so you get the full effect)….


Thank Gods of Fashion, my sister stepped in and loaned us THIS much more stylish GAP ski jacket….


Ahhhh, much better. Well, anything’s better, really, than brown and puke-green-and-yellow PLAID. Poor guy. That is “plaid,” right? I should know, because I’m supposed to be “trendie,” but I don’t. And I’m not — trendy, that is, as you know…. Am SUCH a schlepper.

So, this is my attempt at a blog post — and, more so, my excuse for posting a picture of Rascal’s ridiculously adorable crazy-round fluorescent-blond head, OY! — while my mind is a total WHIRLWIND, literally. Can you tell? Enough.

We’ll spend more time together later.

xo Haley-O

First and foremost I am NOT supposed to be working on this Holiest of Holy Jewish Holidays — Yom Kippur. So, if we were to define my blogging as “work,” as I often do, then I’m sinning right this holy minute. But, no. I’m not working right now. I’m not trying to entertain and delight, and no one’s paying me to be here, so I’m not working. No, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing on this Holiest of Holy Jewish Holidays — I’m reflecting. Yes, I’m reflecting on my sins. Seriously. Come with me.

1. If it wasn’t Yom Kippur — ie., if I wasn’t supposed to be fasting until tomorrow evening — I’d fully be eating a peanut butter sandwich right now. Yes, I’ve gotten into the sinful habit of sinfully indulging in one of the deadliest of diet sins: The Peanut Butter sandwich at 10:30pm…. Only sometimes I ditch the bread and replace with a bowl and, erm, syrup! Aaaaack! This is embarrassing. But CLEANSING. We’re doing it right this year. The consequence of this sin, of course, is those lingering 15 pounds…. And indigestion.

2. And why, pray tell, would I be eating a peanut butter sandwich? Procrastination. I believe it’s one of the seven deadlies…. I procrastinate to avoid everything from blogging, working, working, working, putting groceries away, eating healthy, changing diapers, going to bed…ANYTHING. Tweeting is my procrastinatory (word? should be a word) activity of choice. And sometimes I write sinful tweets. But, I write the odd angelic ones, too…?


3. I am jealous and take things much too personally. People might call the latter “sensitive,” but I think it’s egotistical. I vow to pray hard on this in synagogue tomorrow, since it PLAGUETH me, and to get mine arse back to Yoga so I can speak head-on to this Ego of mine and tell it to STOPPIT and to SHUTIT and maybe, like, GO AWAY so I can be happy and released from the web of anxiety and fear I’ve been living in since my first pregnancy. Gah! Gah-Gah! Gah!

You see, these sins are not without their consequences. I get kicked in the arse whenever I commit even a mild sin, like letting the Monkey watch Hannah Montana only because I myself selfishly adore it — which comes back and kicks my arse when she prances around the house chanting “Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana,” in her best country twang, over and over again. Blergh.

4. I lie. I tell my daughter we’re listening to Disney Radio for her, when, really, it’s so for me….

5. I’m possessive. He’s MY CAT. Not my children’s cat.


Which is, of course, FINE with him. MINE! (And thank you for your thoughts and prayers about MARRRGE last week! She’s FINE! Test results came back brillers. And, by the way, I don’t have to be possessive about her because the kids can’t get near the sneaky little now-TOOTHLESS bugger.)

6. I’m impatient. Indecisive. Impulsive. Perfectionistic. I make up words. I think Kanye West is hilarious. I enjoy The Igor at Rascal’s innocent li’l expense. And Rascal’s beloved “MUCKAH” may or may not be RICE milk.

7. I make sinfully delicious salad dressings so my kids will EAT VEGETABLES. I’ve also been known to puree kale into EVERYTHING they eat.

8. I sing with my earphones on. When I listen to my ipod. When I don’t know the words. Any of them. Not even one. When Josh is in the room.

And now I fast.

Out with the old. In with the new. Even if it’s cliche. Because it’s not ABOUT YOU, Ego…!

xo Haley-O

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